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Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

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PNGMK
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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby PNGMK » Tue, 31 May 2016 8:11 am

Singaporean's don't know how to cook; hence that's why they don't care about an oven.
I have gay, black, Asian friends and then JR8.

hellokitty007
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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby hellokitty007 » Mon, 27 Jun 2016 2:44 pm

Hi Guys, I'm an American expat working in Singapore. I signed a 2 year personal lease and need to break it 10 months in due to a new opportunity back in the States. The diplomatic clause in my contract can only be exercised 14 months in (i.e. 12 months in with 2 months' notice). I found tenants for my landlord at a slightly higher rent that what I'm paying but he refused because he said that he wants a significantly higher rent if he is to accommodate me and that I'm in no position to negotiate terms. Also, I offered to forfeit my deposit and he has still refused. It's already been 2 months since I made him aware of my situation and he's not being reasonable at all and turning down tenants that I'm finding for him. Now he's proposed that I vacate the unit at the 10 month mark but continue to pay him up to 12 months + his agent's listing fees + get the unit painted + return of agents commissions. I'm honestly tired of all this and considering flying back without settling this. I intent to get the unit professionally cleaned and leave it in excellent condition as well as forfeit my deposit. In terms of repercussions, what is the worst that the LL can do? Will this mean that I can never return to / transit through Singapore? Objective advice would be appreciated. Thanks.


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The Ref
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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby The Ref » Mon, 27 Jun 2016 7:20 pm

I suggest if you have found someone willing to pay more than you currently are paying the the LL is a fool.

Use: https://www.ura.gov.sg/realEstateIIWeb/ ... rch.action to find what similar condos are going for and suggest with falling rent values and a LOT of empty units then he is shooting himself in the foot.
Assuming the new tenants don't work out, you are up for the 14 months you stay there (don't move out and pay it regardless as this will make him think he "won") plus 10/24ths of the agent fees which is almost a months rent if you also had a buyers agent.
As far as painting the unit it would depend on what is in the contract - if it is not specified you don't need to do it. You may need to get the curtains dry cleaned as that is often in the contracts.
Good luck

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 27 Jun 2016 9:16 pm

hellokitty007 wrote:Hi Guys, I'm an American expat working in Singapore. I signed a 2 year personal lease and need to break it 10 months in due to a new opportunity back in the States. The diplomatic clause in my contract can only be exercised 14 months in (i.e. 12 months in with 2 months' notice). I found tenants for my landlord at a slightly higher rent that what I'm paying but he refused because he said that he wants a significantly higher rent if he is to accommodate me and that I'm in no position to negotiate terms. Also, I offered to forfeit my deposit and he has still refused. It's already been 2 months since I made him aware of my situation and he's not being reasonable at all and turning down tenants that I'm finding for him. Now he's proposed that I vacate the unit at the 10 month mark but continue to pay him up to 12 months + his agent's listing fees + get the unit painted + return of agents commissions. I'm honestly tired of all this and considering flying back without settling this. I intent to get the unit professionally cleaned and leave it in excellent condition as well as forfeit my deposit. In terms of repercussions, what is the worst that the LL can do? Will this mean that I can never return to / transit through Singapore? Objective advice would be appreciated. Thanks.


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It's very unlikely he can do anything. Nothing. In theory he can mount a claim for damages (loss of income) via the Hague Convention but is costly, difficult and untested. If you have records of the high paying tenants offers etc I would keep them on hand along with any written documentation that you have attempted to assist in finding a replacement. I'd personally just leave. It's bad practice but your LL is an ass for not accepting your replacements. He will struggle to do the same again and is being unrealistic.

I am not a lawyer and this advice, while well intended and based on personal experience, is just that - a personal opinion only.
I have gay, black, Asian friends and then JR8.

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby hellokitty007 » Tue, 28 Jun 2016 12:06 am

PNGMK wrote:
hellokitty007 wrote:Hi Guys, I'm an American expat working in Singapore. I signed a 2 year personal lease and need to break it 10 months in due to a new opportunity back in the States. The diplomatic clause in my contract can only be exercised 14 months in (i.e. 12 months in with 2 months' notice). I found tenants for my landlord at a slightly higher rent that what I'm paying but he refused because he said that he wants a significantly higher rent if he is to accommodate me and that I'm in no position to negotiate terms. Also, I offered to forfeit my deposit and he has still refused. It's already been 2 months since I made him aware of my situation and he's not being reasonable at all and turning down tenants that I'm finding for him. Now he's proposed that I vacate the unit at the 10 month mark but continue to pay him up to 12 months + his agent's listing fees + get the unit painted + return of agents commissions. I'm honestly tired of all this and considering flying back without settling this. I intent to get the unit professionally cleaned and leave it in excellent condition as well as forfeit my deposit. In terms of repercussions, what is the worst that the LL can do? Will this mean that I can never return to / transit through Singapore? Objective advice would be appreciated. Thanks.


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It's very unlikely he can do anything. Nothing. In theory he can mount a claim for damages (loss of income) via the Hague Convention but is costly, difficult and untested. If you have records of the high paying tenants offers etc I would keep them on hand along with any written documentation that you have attempted to assist in finding a replacement. I'd personally just leave. It's bad practice but your LL is an ass for not accepting your replacements. He will struggle to do the same again and is being unrealistic.

I am not a lawyer and this advice, while well intended and based on personal experience, is just that - a personal opinion only.


Thank you for the advice. Noted that it's your personal opinion.

My contract does not require me to paint the unit.

My contract also does not require me to cover the agent's listing fees.

The diplomatic clause requires that prorated agents commission is returned, so I am willing to refund that.

Regarding the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements, even though the US has signed it, it has not yet ratified it. [Source: http://www.singaporelawwatch.sg/slw/att ... ention.pdf]

I'm going to give it one last push to try and negotiate this with the landlord, otherwise it is what it is.


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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby PNGMK » Tue, 28 Jun 2016 8:27 am

Good luck.
I have gay, black, Asian friends and then JR8.

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby x9200 » Tue, 28 Jun 2016 10:21 am

I don't think the LL is going to win anything even if he pushes to the court, so hellokitty007 all you need to do, is document your attempts of finding new tenants, communications with the LL etc.
Collect it, and keep in a safe place. You acted very reasonably trying not only to minimize the LL's expenses but actually going beyond that. As you are leaving the country, the LL can sue you only at the regular court - this is what we learnt from some of the cases reported in this forum. No easy, low-cost way at SCT and in the regular court it will cost him thousands to get anything going. And as mention earlier, I am pretty sure he is going to lose.

At the stage you are going to vacate the place do the following:
- make very detailed documentation* of the flat at the handover
- have a witness with you during the handover and the photo taking
- if possible, try to get a handover notice signed by the LL stating everything is ok with the flat

*) just think about this as mapping the whole apartment with a camera and with a quality/resolution good enough to assess any claims of damages the LL may try to come up later. 100-300 photos normally do the job for me. Don't forget to take photos of the cabinets inside, both sides of doors, ceilings, lamps etc etc,

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby PNGMK » Tue, 28 Jun 2016 12:59 pm

OP - if you're doing a runner I'd suggest just leaving the keys with the security guard or in the mail box and texting the LL or agent as your flight takes off. As your are forfeiting your deposit etc I see no reason for a formal handover but documentation is important.
I have gay, black, Asian friends and then JR8.

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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby hellokitty007 » Tue, 28 Jun 2016 8:41 pm

Understood. Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm still not certain what will happen if the LL decides to sue and if I ever return to Singapore. Does immigration get involved with matters covered by civil law? Anyway, will keep you all posted so that others in my position can know their options going forward.


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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby PNGMK » Tue, 28 Jun 2016 8:46 pm

hellokitty007 wrote:Understood. Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm still not certain what will happen if the LL decides to sue and if I ever return to Singapore. Does immigration get involved with matters covered by civil law? Anyway, will keep you all posted so that others in my position can know their options going forward.


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No (with a caveat that if you have been made a bankrupt in absentia ICA may care, however that's impossible without a debt > $10,000).
I have gay, black, Asian friends and then JR8.

hellokitty007
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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby hellokitty007 » Tue, 28 Jun 2016 8:53 pm

Ah I see. In that scenario, the landlord would need to spend money on legal fees, a few thousand at the very least, with next to zero chance of recovery. Odds are that he won't, but then again, this guy has behaved so irrationally so far that I really don't know what to expect from him. Fingers crossed.


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PNGMK
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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby PNGMK » Tue, 28 Jun 2016 8:59 pm

We call it 'new landlord syndrome' around here with an emphasis on LORD.
I have gay, black, Asian friends and then JR8.

hellokitty007
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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby hellokitty007 » Wed, 29 Jun 2016 10:19 am

PNGMK wrote:We call it 'new landlord syndrome' around here with an emphasis on LORD.


Haha ... I hear ya!


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fruitarian
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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby fruitarian » Fri, 01 Jul 2016 10:51 am

If in my contract no any early termination condition specified landlord still can sue me if I leave the place early?

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JR8
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Re: Tenancy agreements/leases and your rights as a tenant

Postby JR8 » Fri, 01 Jul 2016 2:43 pm

The starting point is that you are bound by the terms of the contract that you agreed.
If there is no clause that allows you to amend the duration of your TA, such as a break clause, then you are bound to the term you signed up for.

There are possible exceptions to the above. For example if your TA was not stamped for Stamp Duty. In that case the unstamped TA cannot be introduced as evidence in legal action. Put another way, loosely speaking:- The landlord can't bring/prosecute a case based upon something which in the eyes of the law doesn't exist.

Example2: No TA, or no valid TA exists.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard


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